Maya Dougherty's Blog

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Final Reflections

May 18th, 2011 by Maya Dougherty · No Comments · Uncategorized

In taking the private reading, I learned a lot from both our weekly classes and teaching ESL in Vermilion. It is such a valuable and unique opportunity to be able to learn about topics in immigration while simultaneously working with an immigrant/migrant community, and brings the experience much more power and relevance.
Although I had been interested in immigration and work with immigrants since before coming to Oberlin, I had not realized just how large of an immigrant/migrant community there was in our surrounding area. While attending Oberlin it is often so easy to get one’s perceptions skewed by the so-called “Oberlin bubble,” and I think that a lot of students don’t realize that these communities exist even in rural Ohio. I also enjoyed having the opportunity to be involved in another community outside of Oberlin overall, and thought it was really great when we were even able to organize things such as soccer games where people in Vermilion were able to play with Oberlin and LCCC students.
I’m also really grateful that I was given such a great chance to practice and get better at teaching ESL. Although I had done some of that before while working at a summer camp during high school, I learned a lot more this year in terms of teaching tools and effective lesson plans, as well as how to teach adults. These are very valuable skills to have, especially if I hope to continue to do future types of service work, particularly with immigrants and migrants.
Taking the class at the same time as teaching was very useful in terms of understanding many of the struggles and risks that many immigrants have to go through while living in the Unites States. I thought that it was very useful to learn more about things such as ICE ACCESS Programs, because I had heard talk about programs such as Secure Communities many times before, but did not really know very much about what they actually did. Although I am from Arizona and have witnessed many of the changes that have occurred as a result of SB1070, I discovered that there were still things that I did not know. This made me realize just how true that must be for so many people, both in and outside of Arizona.
Most importantly, the class sessions helped provide me with an overall knowledge and vocabulary that I can use when speaking about immigration in the future. As a topic that can often be so heated and controversial, it is important to know what your best selling points are, as well as what exactly the different arguments may be. The private reading definitely helped prepare me for those sorts of future conversations, and I hope to be able to use my new knowledge well.

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